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Arcana Coelestia #9372

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9372. And He said unto Moses. That this signifies that which concerns the Word in general, is evident from the representation of Moses, as being the Word (of which below); and from the signification of “He said,” as involving those things which follow in this chapter, thus those which concern the Word (see n. 9370). (That Moses represents the Word, can be seen from what has been often shown before about Moses, as from the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 4859, 5922, 6723, 6752, 6771, 6827, 7010, 7014, 7089, 7382, 8601, 8760, 8787, 8805.) Here Moses represents the Word in general, because it is said of him in what follows, that he alone should come near unto Jehovah (verse 2); and also that, being called unto out of the midst of the cloud, he entered into it, and went up the mount (verses 16-18).

(References: Exodus 24:16, 24:18)


[2] In the Word there are many who represent the Lord in respect to truth Divine, or in respect to the Word; but chief among them are Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and John the Baptist. That Moses does so, can be seen in the explications just cited above; that so do Elijah and Elisha, can be seen in the preface to Genesis 18; and n. 2762, 5247; and that John the Baptist does so is evident from the fact that he was “Elias who was to come.” He who does not know that John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, cannot know what all those things infold and signify which are said about him in the New Testament; and therefore in order that this secret may stand open, and that at the same time it may appear that Elias, and also Moses, who were seen when the Lord was transfigured, signified the Word, some things may here be quoted which are spoken about John the Baptist; as in Matthew:

After the messengers of John had departed, Jesus began to speak concerning John, saying, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? a reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft things are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, even more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send Mine angel before Thy face, who shall prepare Thy way before Thee. Verily I say unto you, Among those who are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist; nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he. All the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye are willing to believe, he is Elias who was to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matthew 11:7-15; and also Luke 7:24-28).

No one can know how these things are to be understood, unless he knows that this John represented the Lord as to the Word, and unless he also knows from the internal sense what is signified by “the wilderness” in which he was, also what by “a reed shaken by the wind,” and likewise by “soft raiment in kings’ houses;” and further what is signified by his being “more than a prophet,” and by “none among those who are born of women being greater than he, and nevertheless he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he,” and lastly by his being “Elias.” For without a deeper sense, all these words are uttered merely from some comparison, and not from anything of weight.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135)


[3] But it is very different when by John is understood the Lord as to the Word, or the Word representatively. Then by “the wilderness of Judea in which John was” is signified the state in which the Word was at the time when the Lord came into the world, namely, that it was “in the wilderness,” that is, it was in obscurity so great that the Lord was not at all acknowledged, neither was anything known about His heavenly kingdom; when yet all the prophets prophesied about Him, and about His kingdom, that it was to endure forever. (That “a wilderness” denotes such obscurity, see n. 2708, 4736, 7313.) For this reason the Word is compared to “a reed shaken by the wind” when it is explained at pleasure; for in the internal sense “a reed” denotes truth in the ultimate, such as is the Word in the letter.

[4] That the Word in the ultimate, or in the letter, is crude and obscure in the sight of men; but that in the internal sense it is soft and shining, is signified by their “not seeing a man clothed in soft raiment, for behold those who wear soft things are in kings’ houses.” That such things are signified by these words, is plain from the signification of “raiment,” or “garments,” as being truths (n. 2132, 2576, 4545, 4763, 5248, 6914, 6918, 9093); and for this reason the angels appear clothed in garments soft and shining according to the truths from good with them (n. 5248, 5319, 5954, 9212, 9216). The same is evident from the signification of “kings’ houses,” as being the abodes of the angels, and in the universal sense, the heavens; for “houses” are so called from good (n. 2233, 2234, 3128, 3652, 3720, 4622, 4982, 7836, 7891, 7996, 7997); and “kings,” from truth (n. 1672, 2015, 2069, 3009, 4575, 4581, 4966, 5044, 6148). Therefore by virtue of their reception of truth from the Lord, the angels are called “sons of the kingdom,” “sons of the king,” and also “kings.”

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2233-2234, 7996-7997)


[5] That the Word is more than any doctrine in the world, and more than any truth in the world, is signified by “what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet;” and by, “there hath not arisen among those who are born of women a greater than John the Baptist;” for in the internal sense “a prophet” denotes doctrine (n. 2534, 7269); and “those who are born,” or are the sons, “of women” denote truths (n. 489, 491, 533, 1147, 2623, 2803, 2813, 3704, 4257).

[6] That in the internal sense, or such as it is in heaven, the Word is in a degree above the Word in the external sense, or such as it is in the world, and such as John the Baptist taught, is signified by, “he that is less in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he;” for as perceived in heaven the Word is of wisdom so great that it transcends all human apprehension. That the prophecies about the Lord and His coming, and that the representatives of the Lord and of His kingdom, ceased when the Lord came into the world, is signified by, “all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” That the Word was represented by John, as by Elijah, is signified by his being “Elias who is to come.”

[7] The same is signified by these words in Matthew:

The disciples asked Jesus, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? He answered and said, Elias must needs first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, that Elias hath come already, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished. Even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. And they understood that He spoke to them of John the Baptist (Matthew 17:10-13).

That “Elias hath come, and they knew him not, but did unto him whatsoever they wished” signifies that the Word has indeed taught them that the Lord is to come, but that still they did not wish to comprehend, interpreting it in favor of the rule of self, and thus extinguishing what is Divine in it. That they would do the same with the truth Divine itself, is signified by “even so shall the Son of man also suffer of them.” (That “the Son of man” denotes the Lord as to truth Divine, see n. 2803, 2813, 3704)

[8] From all this it is now evident what is meant by the prophecy about John in Malachi:

Behold I send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah cometh (Malachi 4:5).

Moreover, the Word in the ultimate, or such as it is in the external form in which it appears before man in the world, is described by the “clothing” and “food” of John the Baptist, in Matthew:

John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, had His clothing of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:1, 4).

In like manner it is described by Elijah in the second book of Kings:

He was a hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins (2 Kings 1:8).

By “clothing,” or a “garment,” when said of the Word, is signified truth Divine there in the ultimate form; by “camel’s hair” are signified memory-truths such as appear there before a man in the world; by the “leathern girdle” is signified the external bond connecting and keeping in order all the interior things; by “food” is signified spiritual nourishment from the knowledges of truth and of good out of the Word; by “locusts” are signified ultimate or most general truths; and by “wild honey” their pleasantness.

[9] That such things are signified by “clothing” and “food” has its origin in the representatives of the other life, where all appear clothed according to truths from good, and where food also is represented according to the desires of acquiring knowledge and growing wise. From this it is that “clothing,” or a “garment,” denotes truth (as may be seen from the citations above; and that “food” or “meat” denotes spiritual nourishment, n. 3114, 4459, 4792, 5147, 5293, 5340, 5342, 5576, 5579, 5915, 8562, 9003; that “a girdle” denotes a bond which gathers up and holds together interior things, n. 9341; that “leather” denotes what is external, n. 3540; and thus “a leathern girdle” denotes an external bond; that “hairs” denote ultimate or most general truths, n. 3301, 5569-5573; that “a camel” denotes memory-knowledge in general, n. 3048, 3071, 3143, 3145, 4156; that “a locust” denotes nourishing truth in the extremes, n. 7643; and that “honey” denotes the pleasantness thereof, n. 5620, 6857, 8056). It is called “wild honey,” or “honey of the field,” because by “a field” is signified the church (n. 2971, 3317, 3766, 7502, 7571, 9139, 9295). He who does not know that such things are signified, cannot possibly know why Elijah and John were so clothed. And yet that these things signified something peculiar to these prophets, can be thought by everyone who thinks well about the Word.

[10] Because John the Baptist represented the Lord as to the Word, therefore also when he spoke of the Lord, who was the Word itself, he said of himself that he was “not Elias, nor the prophet,” and that he was “not worthy to loose the latchet of the Lord’s shoe,” as in John:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory. The Jews from Jerusalem, priests and Levites, asked John who he was. And he confessed, and denied not, I am not the Christ. Therefore they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? But he said, I am not. Art thou the prophet? He answered, No. They said therefore unto him, Who art thou? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet. They said therefore, Why then baptizest thou, if thou art not the Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? He answered, I baptize with water; in the midst of you standeth one whom ye know not; He it is who is to come after me, who was before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to unloose. When he saw Jesus, he said, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, After me cometh a man who was before me; for he was before me (John 1:1, 14, 19-30).

From these words it is plain that when John spoke about the Lord Himself, who was Truth Divine itself, or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, because the shadow disappears when the light itself appears, that is, the representative disappears when the original itself makes its appearance. (That the representatives had in view holy things, and the Lord Himself, and not at all the person that represented, see n. 665, 1097, 1361, 3147, 3881, 4208, 4281, 4288, 4292, 4307, 4444, 4500, 6304, 7048, 7439, 8588, 8788, 8806.) One who does not know that representatives vanish like shadows at the presence of light, cannot know why John denied that he was Elias and the prophet.

[11] From all this it can now be seen what is signified by Moses and Elias, who were seen in glory, and who spoke with the Lord when transfigured, of His departure which He should accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:29-31); namely, that they signified the Word (“Moses” the historic Word, and “Elias” the prophetic Word), which in the internal sense throughout treats of the Lord, of His coming into the world, and of His departure out of the world; and therefore it is said that “Moses and Elias were seen in glory,” for “glory” denotes the internal sense of the Word, and the “cloud” its external sense (see the preface to Genesis 18, and n. 5922, 8427).

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2135; Exodus 24:1-2)

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Arcana Coelestia 9374, 9378, 9379, 9382, 9386, 9429, 9504, 9779, 9806, 9828, 9954, 10027, 10090, 10215, 10251, 10337, 10355, 10375, 10396, 10397, 10400, 10432, 10450, 10460, 10468, 10528, 10549, 10551, 10635, 10636, 10641, 10690


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 19, 64, 66, 83, 130, 355, 375, 701, 710, 735, 746

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Arcana Coelestia #1672

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1672. And the kings that were with him. That this signifies the apparent truth which is of that good, is evident from the signification of “kings” in the Word. “Kings,” “kingdoms,” and “peoples,” in the historical and the prophetical parts of the Word, signify truths and the things which are of truths, as may be abundantly confirmed. In the Word an accurate distinction is made between a “people” and a “nation;” by a “people” are signified truths, and by a “nation” goods, as before shown (n. 1259, 1260). “Kings” are predicated of peoples, but not so much of nations. Before the sons of Israel sought for kings, they were a nation, and represented good, or the celestial; but after they desired a king, and received one, they became a people, and did not represent good or the celestial, but truth or the spiritual; which was the reason why this was imputed to them as a fault (see 1 Samuel 8:7-22, concerning which subject, of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere). As Chedorlaomer is named here, and it is added, “the kings that were with him,” both good and truth are signified; by “Chedorlaomer,” good, and by “the kings,” truth. But what was the quality of the good and truth at the beginning of the Lord’s temptations has already been stated.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1259-1260, Genesis 14:5)

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Arcana Coelestia 1723, 2015, 2466, 2504, 2509, 2567, 2761, 2781, 2826, 2830, 2832, 2851, 2906, 3009, 3105, 3353, 3355, 3365, 3488, 3703, 3708, 3863, 4402, 4575, 4691, 4728, 4763, 4876, 5023, 5038, 5044, 5313, 5321, 5323, 5619, 6015, 6125, 6148, ...

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 1


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Apocalypse Explained 27, 126, 236


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Apocalypse Explained #109

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109. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life. That this signifies that he who receives in the heart shall be filled with the good of love, and hence with heavenly joy, is evident from the signification of overcoming, as being to receive in the heart, concerning which we shall treat in what follows; and from the signification of eating, as being to appropriate and to be conjoined (concerning which see Arcana Coelestia, n. 2187, 2343, 3168, 3813, 5643); and from the signification of the tree of life, as being the good of love, and thence heavenly joy, concerning which also we shall speak presently. The reason why to overcome denotes to receive in the heart is, that everyone who is about to receive spiritual life will fight against the evils and falsities of his natural life, and when he overcomes them, then goods and truths, which belong to the spiritual life, are received in the heart (to receive in the heart is to receive in the will and love, for the heart in the Word signifies the will and love, as may be seen, Arcana Coelestia, n. 2930, 3313, 7542, 8910, 9050, 9113, 10,336); wherefore to receive goods and truths in the heart, is to do them from the will or love; this is what is meant by overcoming.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 2187, 2343, 2930, 3168, Arcana Coelestia 3313, 3813, Arcana Coelestia 5643, Arcana Coelestia 7542, 8910, 9050, 9113, Arcana Coelestia 10336; Revelation 2:7)


[2] The reason why the tree of life signifies the good of love, and thence heavenly joy is, that trees signify those things that are internally in man, which pertain to his interior mind (mens), or his external mind (animus), the boughs and leaves those things which pertain to the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth and good, and the fruits the goods of life themselves. This signification of trees originates in the spiritual world; for in that world trees of all kinds are seen; and these trees correspond to the interiors of the minds of angels and spirits; beautiful and fruitful trees to the interiors of those who are in the good of love, and thence in wisdom; trees less beautiful and fruitful to those who are in the good of faith; but trees bearing leaves only, and without fruit, to those who are only in the knowledges (cognitiones) of truth; and trees of a dismal hue, with malignant fruits, to those who are in knowledges (cognitiones) and in evil of life; but by those who are not in knowledges, and are in evil of life, trees are not seen, but instead stones and sand.

These appearances in the spiritual world, actually flow from correspondence; for the interiors of the mind of the inhabitants of that world are by such forms actually presented before their eyes. (These things may be seen better from two articles in the work, Heaven and Hell; in the first, where the correspondence of heaven with all things of the earth is treated of, n. 103-115; and in the other, where representatives and appearances in heaven are treated of, n. 170-176, and n. 177-190.)

(References: Heaven and Hell 103-115, 170-176, 177-190)


[3] This then is why trees are so often mentioned in the Word, by which are signified those things which pertain to a man's mind; and why it is, that in the first chapters of Genesis, two trees are said to have been placed in the garden of Eden, one of which was called the tree of life, and the other the tree of knowledge (scientia). By the tree of life mentioned there is signified the good of love to the Lord, and thence heavenly joy, which those possessed who at that time formed the church, and who are meant by the man and his wife; and by the tree of knowledge is signified the delight of knowledges (cognitiones) without any other use than to be accounted learned, and to acquire renown for erudition, solely for the sake of honour or gain. The reason why the tree of life also signifies heavenly joy is, because the good of love to the Lord, which is specifically signified by that tree, has heavenly joy in it. (See the work, Heaven and Hell, n. 395-414, and The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, n. 230-239.)

(References: Heaven and Hell 395-414; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 230-239)


[4] That trees, so often mentioned in the Word, signify the interiors of man's internal and external minds, and the things produced by the trees, as the leaves and fruit, such things as are derived from them, is evident from the following passages:

"I will give in the desert the cedar, the schittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the wilderness the fir tree, the pine and the box" (Isa. xli. 19).

The establishment of the church is there treated of;

"The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary" (Isa. lx. 13).

"Let all the trees of the field know that I, Jehovah, humble the lofty tree, and exalt the humble tree, cause the green tree to become dry, and make the dry tree to bud" (Ezek. xvii. 24).

"Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall consume every green tree in thee, and every dry tree" (Ezek. xx. 47).

"The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, all the trees of the field are withered, because joy is withered away from the sons of men" (Joel i. 12).

"When the angel sounded, there followed hail and fire which fell upon the earth; and the third part of the trees was burnt up" (Apoc. viii. 7)

Nebuchadnezzar saw in a dream "a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great, the leaf thereof fair, and the flower thereof much, and in it was food for all" (Dan. iv. 10-12).

Because trees in general signify such things as pertain to man, and constitute the interiors of his mind, and thus the spiritual things pertaining to the church, and both the latter and the former are various, therefore so many species of trees are mentioned, and every species signifies something different. (What the various species signify is shown in Arcana Coelestia, as what is signified by the oil tree, n. 9277, 10,261 what by the cedar, n. 9472, 9486, 9528, 9715, 10,178 what by the vine, n. 1069, 5113, 6375, 6378, 9277; what by the fig, n. 217, 4231, 5113, and so forth.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 217, Arcana Coelestia 1069, Arcana Coelestia 4231, Arcana Coelestia 5113, Arcana Coelestia 6375, 6378, Arcana Coelestia 9277, Arcana Coelestia 9472, 9486, 9528, 9715, 10178, 10261; Daniel 4:10-12; Ezekiel 17:24, 20:47; Isaiah 41:19, 60:13; Joel 1:12; Revelation 8:7)


[5] Moreover, the things which are upon trees, as leaves and fruits, signify those things that pertain to man; leaves signify the truths pertaining to him, and fruits the goods, as in the following passages:

"He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river; her leaf shall be green; neither shall it cease from yielding fruit" (Jer. xvii. 8).

By the river which went out from the house of God "upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, ascendeth the tree of food, whose leaf falleth not off, nor is its fruit consumed; it springeth again in its months, because its waters issue out of the sanctuary, whence its fruit is for food, and its leaf for medicine" (Ezek. xlvii. 12).

"In the midst of the street of it, and of the river (going out from the throne of God and the Lamb), on this side and on that side, was there the tree of life bearing twelve fruits, and yielding her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations" (Apoc. xxii. 1, 2).

"Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law; he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither" (Ps. i. 1-3).

"Be not afraid, for the tree shall bear her fruit, the fig tree and the vine shall yield their strength" (Joel ii. 22).

"The trees of Jehovah are full of sap, the cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted" (Ps. civ. 16).

"Praise Jehovah, ye fruitful trees, and all cedars" (Ps. cxlviii. 9).

(References: Ezekiel 47:12; Jeremiah 17:8; Joel 2:22; Leviticus 19:23-25; Psalms 1:1-3, Psalms 1:3, 104:16, 148:7, 148:9; Revelation 22:1-2, Revelation 22:2)


[6] Because fruits signified the goods of life with man, therefore in the Israelitish church, which was a representative church, it was commanded that the fruit of trees, like the men themselves, should be circumcised, concerning which it is thus written: The fruit of a tree serving for food shall be uncircumcised in the land of Canaan;

"three years shall it be uncircumcised unto you; and in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy, the praises of Jehovah. And in the fifth year shall ye eat of the fruit thereof" (Lev. xix. 23, 24, 25).

Because the fruit of the tree signified goods of life, therefore also it was commanded, that

in the feast of tabernacles they should take the fruit of the tree of honour, and the boughs, and should rejoice before Jehovah, and thus they should keep the feast (Lev. xxiii. 40, 41);

for by tabernacles were signified the goods of celestial love, and thence holy worship (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 414, 1102, 2145, 2152, 3312, 4391, 10,545); and by the feast of tabernacles was signified the implantation of that good of love (n. 9296). Because fruit signified the goods of love, which are the goods of life, therefore it was among the blessings that the tree of the field should yield its fruit; and among the curses that it should not yield its fruit (Lev. xxvi. 4, 20). And therefore also they were forbidden, when any city was besieged, to lay the axe to any tree of good fruit (Deut. xx. 19, 20).

From these considerations it is now evident that by fruits are signified the goods of love, or, what is the same, goods of life, which are also called works, as also what is meant in these passages in the Evangelists:

"The axe lies at the root of the trees; every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire" (Matt. iii. 10; vii. 16-21).

Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit" (Matt. xii. 33; Luke vi. 43, 44).

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit shall be taken away: but every branch that beareth fruit shall be purged, that it may bring forth more fruit" (John xv. 2-8).

"A certain man had a fig-tree planted in his vineyard he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. Then saith he unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on the fig-tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" (Luke xiii. 6-9).

"Jesus saw a fig-tree in the way; he came to it, and found nothing thereon but leaves only; he said, Let no fruit grow on thee for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away" (Matt. xxi. 19; Mark xi. 1:13, 14, 20).

By the fig-tree is signified the natural man and his interiors, and by the fruit his goods (see Arcana Coelestia, n. 217, 4231, 5113); but leaves signify knowledges (cognitiones), (n. 885). Hence it is clear what is signified by the fig-tree withering away, because the Lord found on it leaves only, and no fruit. All these passages are quoted in order that it may be known that by the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God, is signified the good of love proceeding from the Lord, and heavenly joy therefrom.

(References: Arcana Coelestia 217, 414, 885, Arcana Coelestia 1102, 2145, 2152, Arcana Coelestia 3312, Arcana Coelestia 4231, Arcana Coelestia 4391, Arcana Coelestia 5113, Arcana Coelestia 9296, Arcana Coelestia 10545; Deuteronomy 20:19-20; John 15:2-8; Leviticus 19:23-25, 23:40-41, 25:4, 25:20, 26:4, 26:20; Luke 6:43-44, 13:6-9, 13:6-10; Mark 11:13-14, 11:20; Matthew 3:10, 7:16-20, 7:16-21, 12:33, 21:19; Psalms 1:1-3; Revelation 2:7, Revelation 22:2)

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